Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has asked the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS) and other federal government agencies not to drag themselves into the politics of 2019 general election.
A statement he issued yesterday in Abuja in reaction to reports of sealing Integrated Logistic Services Nigeria Limited (Intels) office, a company in which the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has interests, by the FIRS, Frank said the action could be a ploy to weaken Atiku ahead of his perceived ambition for 2019.
â€œThis is not the time to play politics with the issues of governance. Could it be another ploy to weaken Atiku ahead of his perceived ambition for 2019?â€ Frank asked.
While condemning the sealing of Intels by FIRS, Frank wondered why FIRS just realised the non-payment of tax by Intels and Export Free Zone also decided that Intels is operating illegally.
â€œIt is pertinent to note that in the history since the establishment of Intels, no central government has ever brazenly persecuted Intels like this present government.
â€œThe act of the FIRS, NPA, and FTZ as agencies of government is and can be seen to be a calculated attempt to humiliate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
â€œHow come FIRS just realised the non- payment of tax by Intels? The export free zone just realised that Intels is operating illegally. If the agencies just realised all these , it means they have shown total failureÂ in discharging their duties,â€ he stated.
Frank said the government agencies should learn to follow due process in conduct their affairs.
He warned the government agencies to thread carefully, saying: â€œMy thoughts are that some political leaders, who are afraid of his profile, are hell bent on truncating his perceived ambition.
The APC chieftain pleaded to the presidency to promptly intervene before it gets out of hands.
Â According to him, â€œI want to believe that the presidency is not aware of this over bearing and over zealousness on the part of these government agencies. By this, I plead with the presidency to promptly intervene on this matter appropriately in due course before it gets late.
â€œThe good news is that no matter what these agencies of government do, the prerogative and his decision to run for presidency come 2019 is his fundamental right and rightly so if he so desires.
â€œNigeria, as it is today, has a lot going on and this latest brazen acts by government agencies is the least on the minds of Nigerians.
â€œWe encourage government agencies to do their work but also take note that governance should not be reduced as a tool to witch hunting individuals and by playing petty politics.
â€œI see this as an intimidation coming from agencies of government of the day on an innocent Nigerian. We must not be cowed by these agencies of government which want to turn themselves to political actors to gain favour from the government of the day.â€
The APC scribe urged Nigerians to rise up against any attempt to vilify any individual in the guise of over zealousness of government agencies.
â€œToday is Atiku, tomorrow it can be any other person, and for this purpose, we must all stand against this impunity. Letâ€™s all thread carefully as we strive for a better country and democracy.â€